It has been several weeks since I have been on here. It's not that I just took a break for the holidays, or that I didn't have any projects to share. I actually had five posts that I wanted to share with you, but I just couldn't bring myself to do it. Why? Well, the answer is a bit long, sad, and random, but it is the truth.
I am very intentional about the words I choose--in real life AND on my blog. This has not always been the case, but over the last few years, I have learned that my words can hurt or help, and I need to be mindful of EVERYTHING that comes of out my mouth (or heart, in this case!). So, for me, part of being intentional with my words means not talking just to talk. (If you know me in real life, you know I talk. A lot. A LOT A LOT!) While I don't always get it right, my blog is a great place to practice saying what I really mean. I can't just say something on here. I need to think about it, type it, edit it, etc.
All that to say, I have sat down several times over the last few weeks, and the message that has been on my heart has not been one that I have wanted to share. Because there was something in my heart that I was trying to hold back, I was unable to share the projects that I wanted to. They just felt false, and silly, really. I have not been ready to write this post, but I am ready today. I don't know if, in writing this, someone else will benefit or if it will just be me. Either way, I am writing it.
I miss my mom. She died when I was 10. I will be 33 in a couple of weeks. It's not like this was my first Christmas without her. So I was totally blindsided by the unbelievable grief that I felt this season.
My mom loved Christmas. She went all out with decorations. I remember stringing cranberries and popcorn garlands with her. Five pieces of popcorn and one cranberry. Five pieces of popcorn and one cranberry.
I love Christmas, and I go crazy with decorations. (So does my MIL, which is so fun!) I even have a number of my mom's vintage Santa's that I decorate with. It reminds me of Christmases past, and I really enjoy the decorating process. This year I bought cranberries to string with my kids. I couldn't do it though. I just let them sit in a bowl and rot. Then I bought more and those rotted too. Ugh.
Why, after 22 years, is this year so hard? Well, I think I know why, but it doesn't make it any easier.
Last year, a very dear family friend died on New Year's Eve. We didn't think she would make it to Christmas. Every day was a horrible waiting game. This year, I was very aware of each day leading up to the anniversary of her death, and I was sad. Really sad.
Also, I always associate Christmas with a time for family's to come together, even if just for the day, and get along. My family history is interesting to say the least, and the holidays don't mean a time of reconciliation. It wasn't a surprise to me, but it was still sad.
Deep breath. Now for the hardest part. My children are very aware that my mom died when I was a child. They talk about their "Grandma Jill" a lot. Even at a very young age, my son seemed to have a very real understanding of what it meant that his mommy lost her mommy when she was little.
When Quinn was almost four, he was just getting into dinosaurs. So we went to the library and checked out a bunch of dinosaur books and several dino DVDs. One of the DVDs was the original Land Before Time. (If you have not seen the movie: SPOILER ALERT! Right at the beginning of the movie, the mom dies and the little dinosaur has to find his way without her.) At the end of the movie, Quinn shakily asks, "Mommy? Is Little Foot's mommy really dead?" I scooped him up and said, "Yes." Quinn said, "I don't want her to be dead," and he started to cry. I said, "Honey, we can pretend that she didn't really die if you would like." He said, "Okay," and then he burst into sobs and said, "But she really did die! And Little Foot needed her! And your mommy died and you needed her, too!" The fact that he made this correlation at such a tender age nearly knocks the wind out of me, and I start sobbing, too. My sobbing causes my daughter, who is not quite two, to start sobbing. At this point, my husband walks in after a trip to the hardware store, and cautiously asks what has happened. When I tell him, he very calmly walks over to the DVD player, removes the disc, and says he will return the movie to the library. He is not easily shaken. I really love that about him!
Picture of our family around the time of the great dinosaur sobfest
We talk about death quite a bit at our house. (I am in no way suggesting that everyone go and have a talk about death with your very young children. Death has greatly affected our life, so we talk about it.) That may seem morbid, but death is a part life. I think that by talking about it, it helps my kids to not be afraid. By NOT talking about it, it turns it into something scary for them. We try to talk about it in a very matter-of- fact way. Everything that lives dies. Flowers die. Trees die. Grass dies. Animals die. People die. Mommies die.
Since we always talk about it in such a matter of fact way, my kids feel very free to ask questions, and I am thankful for that. However, this season, the kids talked about my mom so much, it was almost unbearable. My son is so curious, and he wanted to know what it looked like and what it felt like for my mom when she died. He wants to know if she was scared and if it was hard for her to breathe. I explain that I do not know for sure, but that it was probably scary. Her lung collapsed, so I figure it was hard to breathe. He starts to ask more questions, and I ask him if we can please not talk about it. He moves onto questions about Legos without missing a beat.
I am crying now and losing my train of thought, if there even was a train to begin with…
Oh yes. The "mass". This part is hard, too! What a bummer of a post!
My husband has been having pain in his jaw for about five months. He has gone to the dentist several times, with no real answer. A couple of weeks ago, he went in for another visit, as the pain was getting worse, and the dentist discovered a mass growing in his jaw that was not there on the most recent X-rays.
I try to take the news calmly, but I have a tendency to jump to the worst case scenario, and this was no exception. I do trust that God is in control and that this is part of His plan, and I find much peace and comfort in that. When I start to get amped up, I just take some time and pray. So, basically, I pray 24 hours a day!
My husband and I met with an oral surgeon last week, and he is scheduled for surgery on the 16th. The surgeon feels 90% confident that it will be a cyst that is easy to remove with no follow up surgeries. He feels that there is about a 9% chance that it could be a more aggressive cyst, and need more surgery. And there is a very small percent that it could be something else. Those are the surgeons estimations, not mine. We feel very at ease after meeting with him.
Despite the sadness, I did have a very joyful Christmas and we are all doing well. I am so thankful for all of the blessings in my life.
Picture of our family today
Now that I have this message off my heart, I hope to be able to return to sharing my projects with you very soon! Enjoy the Son today--I promise you will have great day if you do!